Friday, January 25, 2008

Team Softness = Injuries?

At the conclusion of last year's season, JFJ and MLSE threw around the meme that the Leafs "lost the most man games in the NHL due to injury" like JFJ threw around no-movement and no trade clauses.

At the time, I had a big problem with that that statement as:

  1. I hate excuses (I think what-ifs and excuses were the cornerstones of the JFJ era)
  2. If you look at the bulk of last year's injuries, they were to fringe players (Wozniewski was 17% of the total; 4th liners and Marlies were another 22%)
  3. Good teams find ways to win, even when their big guys are hurting

What I didn't stop to consider was why the Leafs were so banged up.

After getting physically manhandled by Washington two nights in a row, the Leafs are once again threatening to run away with the injury title. It struck me that maybe the Leafs suffer so many injuries because they're a soft team.

Last year it was a sea of white shirts staring at their skate laces after Janssen laid out Kaberle.

The last two nights nobody laid a finger on Erskine and Eminger and the questionable hits (and one lovely end of game spear) kept on coming. Poni and Steen are both out as a result and White and Antropov were lucky to avoid the IR...

I'm far too lazy to crunch the numbers, but it would be interesting to see how many of the man games lost over the past 100+ games were the result of other teams playing big while the Leafs played small...


  1. I agree, it drives me up the wall to see the Leafs constantly getting manhandled and intimidated. It could be because the team has all but given up and don't really care that much, individual toughness notwithstanding. Guys like Kilger and Gill can do some rough stuff if properly motivated.. And put Belak in from time to time! Some no-name callup who hardly played anyway instead last nite? What the hell?

  2. Anonymous1:40 pm

    It's doesn't have anything to do with the Leafs having given up. They have been soft since Quinn left. They had a spurt where Bell looked like he might give them a couple of inches but then he repeatedly got beat up and the rest of the guy's decided that they'd rather keep their head down than get beat up.

    Also, toss in Peca's injury as a result of the team softness. Vandermeer's knee never happens if he didn't know that the Leafs would pick him up, dust off the snow, and lament his bad luck at running into Mike.

  3. I miss the days when Tucker would go batshit insane on anyone who even looked at a team-mate wrong.
    Ugh, how far we have come.

  4. Anonymous10:48 am

    Soft? Oh, yeah. The only guy on the team willing to throw down is a 150-pound player playing with a bum knee AND shoulder.

    This team stopped being hard to play against after the 2004 playoffs.

    Don't forget Downie popping Blake recently. Absolutely nothing happened after that shot, just like it's happened all season.

    Ironically, it's a guy like Downie the Leafs could use - a guy who would immediately avenge any attack suffered by our beloved Leaf "stars".